Abiding Anonymously

The word anonymous can bring either comfort or fear. I often enjoy the thought of being anonymous. Unknown. It sounds safe. Like no one is looking at me, seeing my faults. I can stay in pjs and eat peanut butter from the jar when I feel anonymous. It sounds like a day spent at home, googling gardening tips and eating popsicles on the back patio. It is a day without the interruption and pressure of social media. No one wants to chat, comment or react to a status update. I can just be.

The danger of being anonymous too often is that, left unchecked, it can morph into isolation. To be isolated is unwise (Proverbs 18:1). If no one knows you, and your faults, then there is no accountability. There is no friend to lovingly call you back when you have gone too far.

God knows us. We are not anonymous to Him. He sees all and loves us still.

The flip side of this coin is to fear anonymity. To frantically chase attention and acknowledgement of others. To find our identity in how well-known and often thought of we are. Recognition and admiration grow like weeds in the heart of one running away from being anonymous. But they never give the joy we expect they will.

In her book, “Seated with Christ” Heather Holleman wisely states, “…our hearts don’t really want importance, our hearts crave the righteousness of Christ that declares our unconditional acceptance.”

So what do we do with the feelings, desires and temptations that anonymity brings? John 15 speaks to this when Jesus says, “Abide in me.” What does it mean to abide in Jesus? I’ve always thought that abiding hinted at rest. Abiding sounds like a vacation. A time away from the noise and routine of everyday, and a chance to sit and think on those good things Philippians 4:8 tell us to.

But abiding is not synonymous with hiding or taking a break from life. Abiding is about knowing Christ and being on mission with him. And it not only gives our souls a place to rest in a broken world, but also gives us courage to be known in the midst of our own brokenness, because by abiding in Christ, we already are known fully and accepted completely. Only then are we able to do the good works he has prepared for us to do without the relentless thirst of fame and achievement breathing down our necks.

We each have a desire to be known. We have need for connection and acceptance. Too often, we hide for fear of rejection, or chase acknowledgement in hopes of being accepted. One who can stop hiding from rejection or chasing approval will find herself satisfied with abiding. Trusting in the work of Jesus, done on our behalf, provides the space for us to abide.

Doesn’t that sound hopeful? It sound’s like a day at the beach, or a tea party in the most beautiful of gardens! Rest for our souls is found in abiding in Jesus. My heart longs for this, and reminds me that I am not made for the striving of this world, but rather am created to abide in my Creator, worshipping and delighting in Him, just for the joy of being close to Him! Therefore, my work as a mom, wife, church member, writer, or friend is not about achieving success or pats on the back, but rather becomes an act of worship that really has nothing to do with my own sense of identity, and everything to do with the glory of God.

My prayer for you today is that you would find space to abide anonymously. I pray that as you discover space in the shambles of your own brokenness to abide in Christ, you will understand that you are fully known, and fully loved by Him.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:4-5; 8ESV